DFS Pivot Plays week 5 2018
Popular plays are referred to as the chalk, which can be defined as a popular player that will be highly owned. Generally these players are considered must starts by the general consensus. A pivot play are players that will be less owned than the chalk, in a similar price range, and offering similar upside. These pivots are used to be contrarian and built unique lineups with differentiation. When you pivot to a player who is far less owned, the chances of leap frogging in tournament standings are higher, which increases your chances for potentially higher scores.
Each and every week, I will be identifying potential chalk and providing readers with a pivot play on the main slate. With that in mind, let’s not waste any more time and jump right into it.
Matt Ryan $6,600 at Pittsburgh Steelers For what it is worth, I do expect ownership to be a tad more spread out this week at quarterback, considering the salaries and some of the favorable matchups. That said, I still expect for Ryan to come in as one of the more popular quarterbacks of the week. After all, he has been really good in his last three games, scoring over 30 DKFP in each of those contests. This week’s matchup against the Steelers is one that favors him, as this defense has surrendered the third most passing yards (1,297) and the second most passing touchdowns (12), while also giving up the second most DKFP per game to opposing signal callers. Not to mention, they rank 18th in DVOA against the pass. If you look at the Vegas numbers, this game is expected to produce a lot of points from both offenses, so there should be plenty of fantasy goodness here. This is an absolute smash spot for one of the hotter fantasy quarterbacks in the game right now.
Kirk Cousins $6,000 at Philadelphia Eagles The more I look at this matchup for Cousins, the more I am liking it. The Vikings offensive line is a mess and they are unable to run the ball, forcing Cousins to throw the ball. Since Week 2, he has attempted at least 48 passes in every game, including 50 or more in each of the last two games. For the season, only the Colts offense is averaging more pass attempts per game than the Vikings. The Eagles are stout against the run, which should open up the door for plenty of pass attempts for Cousins. In addition, while they rank a respectable 12th in DVOA against the pass, they have surrendered at least two passing touchdowns in all but one game and 300+ passing yards in two games this season. Cousins could go overlooked considering how many quarterbacks in this price range are in good spots, making him extremely appealing in tournaments.
James Conner $7,500 vs. Atlanta Falcons There are a couple of high-priced running backs that I expect to be popular this week, Conner being one of them. This is an absolute perfect matchup for him against a bad Atlanta defense that struggles against pass catching backs. Despite quieting down since the season opener, Conner remains heavily involved in the passing game for Pittsburgh, averaging six targets per game, accounting for 13 percent of the target share. The Falcons are giving up the third most DKFP per game to opposing backs. They have also surrendered the most receptions to the position, to go along with 310 receiving yards and a receiving touchdowns. In addition, Atlanta ranks 30th in DVOA against the run. The Steelers are home favorites in this contest, and they have a healthy implied team total, making this just too good of a spot to ignore. Although he is chalk, I will be rostering him this week.
David Johnson $6,300 at San Francisco 49ers If you are looking to get away from a popular Conner, you may want to consider looking in Johnson’s way. He faces off against the 49ers who have allowed 337 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns this season, to go along with 35 receptions (third most allowed by a defense) for 269 yards and two touchdowns to running backs. Johnson is coming off of a game where he rushed 22 times and received four targets, which could be a trend moving forward. He has not produced at the level we are used to seeing, but he has topped 16 DKFP in all but one game and is $2,500 cheaper than he was in the season opener. If there is a game he can go off in, it is this one.
Juju-Smith Schuster $7,500 vs. Atlanta Falcons
As you can tell, this is the game that should generate the most interest as we are only half way through the article and so far the chalk plays are coming from this game. Smith-Schuster is someone I am very bullish on this week, as I feel that he is priced very reasonably here. He has emerged as one of the top receivers this season and draws a great matchup. He is expected to see coverage from Brian Poole, who grades out below average on PFF, a matchup that Smith-Schuster has a 23 percent advantage rating in. The Falcons are allowing the seventh most DKFP per game and have surrendered seven receiving touchdowns to opposing wide outs, making this a really good spot for him. Smith-Schuster is second on the team with 49 targets (26 percent of the target share) and leads the Steelers with 54.2 percent of the red zone targets. He has topped 100 receiving yards and has seen double-digit targets in three of four games this season. Without a doubt, this is chalk I am willing to eat.
Stefon Diggs $7,000 at Philadelphia Eagles
Stefon Diggs $7,000 at Philadelphia EaglesDiggs is someone I plan on playing even in Smith-Schuster lineups, but also makes for a great pivot if you decided to fade Smith-Schuster. Diggs has a really strong one-on-one matchup against Jalen Mills, who grades out well below average on PFF. It is a matchup that Diggs has a 30 percent advantage rating in, according to PFF. Through the first four weeks, the Eagles have allowed the third most receiving yards and fifth most receptions to opposing wide outs, while yielding six receiving touchdowns. This is a pretty nice spot for a high-volume receiver as talented as Diggs is. He has been peppered with at least 10 targets in each of the last three games and accounts for 23 percent of the Vikings target share. As I mentioned above, the Vikings are attempting the second most passes per game this season, so the targets should once again be there for him this weekend.
Vance McDonald $3,700 vs. Atlanta Falcons Since Eric Ebron and Rob Gronkowski played on Thursday, Jordan Reed playing on Monday, and some of the pricey tight ends in subpar matchups, I expect many people to be looking in McDonald’s way. He has been pretty active since returning from injury, receiving five targets in each game that he has played this season. He has turned that into 12 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons are hurting defensively due to injuries and have shown vulnerability in the middle of the field. Considering the potential game flow here, McDonald could be in for plenty of looks in a matchup that he should be able to take advantage of. When you consider that and his price, it only makes sense that he is popular.
Austin Hooper $3,000 at Pittsburgh Steelers
I whiffed the last time I rostered Hooper, but that will not stop me from considering him again this week. When you look at the matchup, this is as close to perfect as it can be. The Steelers rank 24th in DVOA against tight ends. In addition, they have given up the most receptions (30), fourth most receiving yards (339), and tied for second most touchdowns (3) to the position. Lastly, there are yielding the most DKFP per game to tight ends. Hooper only saw two targets last week, which can be concerning, but he is still second on the team with four red zone targets, good for 16 percent of the red zone target share. There is a low floor here, so I do not suggest him in cash, but he does possess some upside in a good situation, and I expect him to go completely overlooked. He is a sneaky way to get exposure to this game that is expected to be high scoring.
Good luck to all this week. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on the Twitter machine: @Armando_Marsal